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My min-pin mix has almost no attention span. She knows about 5 or 6 different tricks, but will only perform them if she sees the food in your hand and is not distracted by something more entertaining.

For example: We are walking down the street and I stop to work on the 'lay down' command. She see the food in my hand and lays down just as I ask her to. Then, she sees a rabbit. She jumps to her feet and begins to perform this odd alligator roll to try to get out of her harness so she can chase down the animal. She no longer cares about the food in my hand.

And even small distractions like a person standing a few feet away from me or the faint sound of a bird chirping in the distance will distract her so thoroughly that she no longer pays me any attention at all.

If I turn her around to face me, her eyes go blank like she's looking right through me and she continues to tone me out.

This is a problem because she likes to chase people. Granted, at 12 lbs, she has never injured or harmed someone, but I know she looks rather threatening when she's running down the street after the mail man barking her heard off, her mouth opened wide like a tazmanian tiger. She scares people! And she ignores me when I call for her to come. If she is busy barking at a stranger, it is as if I no longer exist.

So how can I get her to pay more attention to me and less attention to every - single -distraction on earth?
 

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To be bluntly honest, you have trained her using food incorrectly. That is the problem, not the dog. The dog has trained YOU! :)

Food is meant to be a reward...what you are descibing is a bribe. Rewards come after a behavior and food comes before. If the dog sees the food, its a bribe. The dog needs to not know that you have food (visibly, they can smell it, but you can't change that) and be rewarded when the behavior is offered. Each treat needs to be a surprise, not a given. :)

If the dog is distracted you have moved to far to fast. Dogs have to build up to distractions slowly or else they fail and well, become distracted.

I would start completely over with this dog...forget everything and start from scratch...

I'd even change the cues your using. There is som'thing called a "poisoned cue" which is what your describing "I call her and she doesn't come"...basically the dog either

A: thinks come means som'thing different than what you think it means
B: bad things happen when I come
C: there is no reward for coming, or the reward is not valueable enough.

So if you say "come" i'd change it too "here" or some other word and teach the behavior from scratch and use rewards this time. :)

Once the dog is reliable you can start building up the distractions SLOWLY, remember if the dog fails you went to fast for her. And never ask for a behavior unless you are 90% sure the dog will do it the first time. Otherwise you poison the cue again. :)

Any other questions let me know.



Dog | Forum | Rocks!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
To be bluntly honest, you have trained her using food incorrectly. That is the problem, not the dog. The dog has trained YOU! :)

Food is meant to be a reward...what you are descibing is a bribe. Rewards come after a behavior and food comes before. If the dog sees the food, its a bribe. The dog needs to not know that you have food (visibly, they can smell it, but you can't change that) and be rewarded when the behavior is offered. Each treat needs to be a surprise, not a given. :)

If the dog is distracted you have moved to far to fast. Dogs have to build up to distractions slowly or else they fail and well, become distracted.

I would start completely over with this dog...forget everything and start from scratch...

I'd even change the cues your using. There is som'thing called a "poisoned cue" which is what your describing "I call her and she doesn't come"...basically the dog either

A: thinks come means som'thing different than what you think it means
B: bad things happen when I come
C: there is no reward for coming, or the reward is not valueable enough.

So if you say "come" i'd change it too "here" or some other word and teach the behavior from scratch and use rewards this time. :)

Once the dog is reliable you can start building up the distractions SLOWLY, remember if the dog fails you went to fast for her. And never ask for a behavior unless you are 90% sure the dog will do it the first time. Otherwise you poison the cue again. :)

Any other questions let me know.

Aahhh that all sounds very time consuming LOL. But sadly it makes sense. I will begin working on this with her tonight. She's a very sensitive animal, so what you say about 'poison cue' makes sense. That would explain why she does all her tricks at the same time when she sees a treat. She has no idea which one you are asking for but knows that if she does them all, she'll get what she wants.
 

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Aahhh that all sounds very time consuming LOL. But sadly it makes sense. I will begin working on this with her tonight. She's a very sensitive animal, so what you say about 'poison cue' makes sense. That would explain why she does all her tricks at the same time when she sees a treat. She has no idea which one you are asking for but knows that if she does them all, she'll get what she wants.

That my friend, its your "ah HA!" moment.

It sounds long, but its really not bad, and totally worth it in the long run. :)

When she does what you want, mark the behavior with a "yes" or "good" and then deliver the treat, once they offer it ten times in a row, and your 90% sure they'll do it again, add your new cue, and only reward the behavior when you ask for it.

Good luck, let us know how it goes. :)



Dog | Forum | Rocks!
 

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I just read this and it made me realize that I too, have bribed my dog. >.< Looks like I'll have to teach 'here' instead of 'come'.
 

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I had to laugh when I read the original post. Sorry I missed it. I think the first thing to note is you have a terrier and act surprised by its behavior. Miniature Pinscher are in fact terriers. Terriers are the only breeds of dog created by man for the sole purpose of ferreting out and killing other animals, which include rabbit, mice, rats, squirrels etc. What confuses me is the number of people who truly think these are toy dogs nut because they are in the toy category with AKC. Fact is the AKC and MPCA screwed up in 1929 as neither knew anything about this breed. At least for one year it was shown in the terrier group which is where it belongs. Bred as a feral dog nearly 400 years ago by German farmers it was not a house pet but lived off what it caught. A cross between the smooth coated Dachshund and Italian Greyhound the breed is designed to constantly react to any small vermin that moves quickly. These dogs are sight oriented and in most cases have a strong prey drive that is inherited from years as a feral breed. They are also prone to being over protective and in reality do not see themselves as a small dog at all which is why larger dogs or even people generally to not intimidate them. They do require a firm master and never treat them like they are little dogs or a toy breed as they are not. Failing to reprimand properly and socialize at a young age induces a spoiled dog. In this breed that is a reciepe for disaster. They are a high energy breed and difficult for most especially if a first time owner of dogs. Never recommended unless you have serious experience with dogs. They will bolt after prey every chance they get. This is insitinctive in the breed and is not something that is just going to go away. A treat in most cases is not a strong enough deterent from their natural prey drive. In addition, this breed does live in a state of terrible twos well into their senior years. Expecting a Miniature Pinscher to slow down around 5 years of age is like expecting your teenager to truly listen to everything you have to say. All you can do is stay patient and keeping working on training. Though difficult to train (I have nearly 50 years with this breed) they can be with patience and time. They are not a breed for the faint of heart. I currrently have 13 along with 2 10 week old pups in addition to my other 7 dogs and though I would not be without a Miniature Pinscher, I rarely ever have sold my pups in the past to just anyone. They had to have prior dog experience especially in the area of terriers. Good luck and just stay with it. It will come in time.
 

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Did I read that right? You own 22 dogs and the 13 cats you mentioned before?
yes, you read that correctly...almost forgot about the 7 birds. Actually it is not that difficult as one may assume if you know your breeds and their natural instincts. You can foresee which in turn confuses them into not acting. There is a lot of double talk...by this I mean giving direction than following it up immediately with the same direction in a stern voice..Typical for Miniature Pinschers. They test you to see how far they can go, once they learned they cannot they will eventually come around. My other dogs are 4 Papillons, 2 Italian Greyhounds and 1 German Pinscher....13 cats are primarily Manx which works out well. They are not interested in the birds unless wild and the dogs have learned to not chase the cats, Manx can be notorious for quickly putting a dog into place. Especially when it comes to my former breeding tom. He has not patience with any dog that tries to chase after him and will even more quickly turn and attack the dog. Total confusion as dogs do not have the ability to act and think at the same time it leaves them startled and stunned which in turn they only remember the end result, a cat riding on their backs like a rodeo rider on the back of a bull. The dogs do not like it so in turn in quick order even Miniature Pinschers who naturally see cats as prey, learn to not chase. Actually most times it is not uncommon to see several dogs and cats curled up sleeping together. Or for that matter cats sleeping on top of the bird cages. The birds could care less and go about business as usual. One thing to note though, there is hardly a dull moment around here. Especially if I bring out a laser light...dogs and cats especially the German Pinscher goes nuts for it. It reminds me of a huge car pile up on the interstate when they all go after it at once.....dogs and cats bouncing off each other....:D
 
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